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Hi all,

I've got a few questions about the info given by my site's statistics
The site in question is:

Around 50% of visitors to the site don't seems to make it past the front
page - is there a functional reason for this (ie: a problem with the menus)?

I am confused by the browser stats below. It seems that the first lot
suggest that most visitors are using Netscape and the second lot suggest the
same for IE - which is it?
      Most active browsers by type and version:
        Netscape 4.x    with    1743    sessions    (61.94% of all sessions)
        MSIE 5.x    with    390    sessions    (13.86% of all sessions)
        AOL 4.x    with    233    sessions    (8.28% of all sessions)
        Unknown    with    191    sessions    (6.79% of all sessions)
        Netscape 5.x    with    187    sessions    (6.65% of all sessions)
        Netscape 2.x    with    25    sessions    (0.89% of all sessions)
        Netscape 3.x    with    15    sessions    (0.53% of all sessions)
        Opera 3.x    with    13    sessions    (0.46% of all sessions)
        AOL 5.x    with    9    sessions    (0.32% of all sessions)
        WebTV 2.x    with    6    sessions    (0.21% of all sessions)
        MSIE 4.x    with    2    sessions    (0.07% of all sessions)

View Browsers by Agent Type Report

      Most browsers by brand preference:
        MSIE    with    2012    sessions    (71.50% of all sessions)
        Netscape    with    352    sessions    (12.51% of all sessions)
        AOL    with    242    sessions    (8.60% of all sessions)
        Other    with    189    sessions    (6.72% of all sessions)
        Opera    with    13    sessions    (0.46% of all sessions)
        WebTV    with    6    sessions    (0.21% of all sessions)

A big thank-you to all who can help..


Re: Site stats

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Looks like it.  This is what I see on the page:
                                                        Whatmough Home Page

                         Whatmough Monitors

Purely javascript-based navigation.  This will be unusable by:

- People with browsers that don't support Javascript
  (e.g. Lynx)
- People with browsers that do support Javascript, but not menus like that
  (e.g. Links 2)
- People with browsers that do support Javascript, but have turned it off
  (e.g. some users of Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, Opera, etc)
- Search engines trying to index your site
  (e.g. GoogleBot)

In addition, you might also lose (unrelated to the menus).

- People who followed a link to the first page and realised they
  didn't want a monitor.  This is entirely normal.

- People who followed a link to the first place but didn't want to
  wait for the huge image to download.  37k might lose you a fair few
  slow dialup users, especially since it's all there is on the page.

50% seems a little high for even those menus alone, though it depends
how many of those IE/Netscape users were really people and not search
engine robots pretending to be IE/Netscape.

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Looking at them, probably the latter is correct, unless you're working
in an environment with lots of NS 4 users (education is a big sector
for this).  I suspect you need a better statistics program, though.
I'd suggest Analog.

And obviously bear in mind all the inaccuracies and limitations
associated with web stats programs.


Re: Site stats

bp wrote:

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My first reaction was to click on the pictures. It took me a while to
notice the red menus above. Links and alt text on the pictures would help.

Re: Site stats

Quoth the raven named bp:

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When you posted this site for review some time ago, it was pointed out
that your JavaScript menus would keep ~15% of visitors out. Your 50%
might including the Googlebot and his friends.

There is no reason to use a JavaScript menu on these pages.

Another tip: you need to resize images. The colin.jpg image is
480x621, and 33KB. You should resize it to 148x191 as in your HTML,
and it would only be about 5KB.

<img height=191 alt="Colin Whatmough " src="images/colin.jpg" border=5

Besides, in Firebird it overlays your text. Use a <span> with a
float:right for these images.

    -This space intentionally left blank.

Re: Site stats

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Actually, the combination of Javascript-dependent menus and large images
can lose you another segment of your audience: those who have Javascript
enabled but don't like waiting for slow image loads.  I ran into this a
couple days ago when I was looking to buy some more memory and I went to
Best Buy's site (< ).  The front page was loading
rather slowly, as it had about 60 images on it.  Fortunately, the links
became visible almost right away, so I just clicked on "computers."  
Nothing.  I stopped the load and clicked on "computers."  Nothing.  I
noticed that the link for "computers" used the javascript: pseudo-protocol,
and then it dawned on me: they were using a Javascript-dependent menu
system that did its initialization at the onLoad event, which only occurs
once all the images are loaded and never occurs if the load is stopped.  
Just for the hell of it, I decided to test my hypothesis and it turned out
to be true; once I waited for the whole thing to load, there was a nice-
looking pull-down menu system.  As it turned out, my patience was rewarded;
they had a *very* good sale on exactly the memory I was looking for.  But
if I had been in a hurry, I'd have just written them off.

Navigation should become active the moment it becomes visible (and it
should become visible as soon as possible).  And keep in mind that many
sites link to off-site images such as ads or counters; if one of those
hangs up, then a site which isn't usable until after onLoad becomes
unusable, period.  If you're going to use fancy script-driven menus, write
them so that they start out as plain lists of links and then get rearranged
into something prettier by script.  If you actually *understand*
Javascript, that's a bit of work, but not an awful lot, and you can reuse
it a lot.  If your understanding of Javascript is limited to making minor
tweaks to downloaded code that you cut and paste into your work, that's
basically impossible and you're better off not using script-enhanced
navigation at all.

Re: Site stats

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Thanks all for your input. The thing that confuses me is that on one hand
people say that Javascript menus are the enemy and that I should use CSS
menus. On the other hand, it seems to be a common argument that CSS menus
don't work on all browsers.

What is the common ground? Or does one simply have to choose one of CSS or
Javascript for menus, knowing that either option will not be usable by
certain visitors to the site?


Re: Site stats

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The common ground is that you use a menu system that looks its best in the
presence of CSS, Javascript, or both, but that still works (even if it
looks ugly) in the absence of either.  It's called "graceful degradation."  
It can be achieved with a thorough understanding of the Document Object
Model (DOM).

Both CSS and client-side scripting are intended to provide *optional*
enhancements in a WWW context (you can get a little more demanding when
developing Intranet applications, though keep in mind that in many
countries you might be legally required to modify your code if it gets in
the way of an employee with a disability).

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